Across the nation on Memorial Day, we gather to honor those who gave what Abraham Lincoln called the “last full measure of devotion” in the fight for our liberty. We honor America’s finest men and women who gave their lives in defense of a nation and its people. Here are three things to know about the holiday and burial benefits available to veterans:
1. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of fallen military members with flowers. It was not until after World War I that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971 it became a national holiday, to be celebrated on the last Monday in May.
2. Memorial Day has been designated as an annual day of remembrance. To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in Dec. 2000 the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The Act encourages every citizen to pause each Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time for a minute of silence.
3. VA burial benefits are available to eligible applicants to help service members, veterans, and their family members plan and pay for a burial or memorial service in a VA national cemetery. Family members can also order memorial items to honor the service of a veteran.
Please note that benefits are also available for eligible surviving spouses. A copy of the veteran’s DD 214 (military discharge) is necessary for all burial benefits, especially for burial at a national cemetery.
For more information, or to determine if you or a loved one qualify for VA burial benefits, please contact:
Grundy County Veterans Assistance Commission : 1320 Union Street: Morris, IL 60450 :
815.941.3152 : https://www.grundycountyil.gov/veterans-assistance/